The Egyptian Swimmer on a Mission to break a Guinness World Record
The Fall Before the Rise
You know you can do anything when one of the highest ranking swimmers was once the little boy who nearly drowned 5 times. “My dad got bored from constantly jumping in the water to save me. So he said we need to teach him” Omar Elewa, Egypt’s pride in the sport, said, ironically clarifying how his swimming journey commenced.
Elewa’s love for the chlorine filled water and the intense sport of swimming was not one that was just naturally born. He wasn’t the child whose eyes sparked at the mere mention of swimming, or his skin shriveled from refusing to get out of the water. In fact Elewa admitted to occasionally skipping the 6 am training he was bound to attend. “I wasn’t the best at swimming at all.” He truthfully confessed.
However, one day Elewa performed so poorly in a tournament that it triggered him and got him asking himself why he didn’t perform better. “I remember well my dad told me ‘why do you expect to do well when other people worked harder than you?’” This pivotal moment and raw realization prompted Elewa to alter his lack of motivation and commitment to the sport, and truly start giving it his all.
“I totally believe that if you want to harvest all your potential into sports because you do believe that you can go somewhere, then there is no middle ground. You have to go extreme.” Elewa said. With this newly adopted mindset Elewa did indeed strive for the extreme, and with that he got to lengths he never thought he would. His accomplishments include: 7 medals acquired in the African Championship, a Gold medal attained in the 2016 Arab Swimming Championship, as well as being a finalist in the World Championship.
Despite this extreme mindset practiced and preached by Elewa, it is only natural to assume the exhaustion might end up getting to him given the highly intensive nature of the sport. So how did he manage to get this far without breaking?
Elewa’s determination branched from the belief that his mind might give him the perception that he’s done but in fact there’s actually so much more in him. This fear of both the mind and body of reaching the extremities and getting out of the ever preferred comfort zone is what holds one back, and hence why many people try yet fail to pave themselves a road to being a professional athlete. To battle this notion, a piece of advice he lived by is, “if you feel like you’re going to die then you stop.” Other than that, no matter what, Elewa kept swimming and swimming until he swam his way competently to the very top.
All about Spoctane
You would think that swimming is all about the individual and the water. Period. However, being a professional athlete is a lifestyle. It’s a mindset. It’s a constant struggle. In result, being surrounded by people who understand that, is a crucial aspect in providing that uplifting and supportive environment very much needed by any athlete. However, unfortunately, that is not always the case. “People in Egypt are not prepared for the idea that you might not become a doctor or an engineer.” Elewa mentions.
“It would have been so much better for people to understand that this is someone who is trying to achieve something exceptional, therefore, the circumstances around him should be exceptional too.” Yet, Elewa was faced by friends who would scold him for missing out on social gatherings, teachers who lacked compassion to the immense goal he was trying to attain in life, and just overall an environment that simply did not get it.
And this is where Spoctane came into the picture. Aiming to raise awareness as to the life of an athlete, Elewa and his cousin, Ahmed Wael set out to create a platform that would do just that. “People only see that in this championship you swam a 20 second race and won a medal but no one sees the sacrifices you’ve made, the amount of hours you put into it, how much pressure you faced, how many times you cried at night,” Elewa said. But with Spoctane he aimed to break this shallow outlook on the roller-coaster that is an athlete’s journey.
Spoctane represents swimmers form all age groups ranging from those under 16 to those above 60, all genders, and all forms, including Paralympians who Elewa believes to be the most inspiring. Despite the diversity in this passionate team of athletes, what they all hold in common is the knowledge as to the true sacrifices and struggles of a swimmer and the eagerness to spread knowledge and create a safe and supportive environment.
Breaking the Guinness World Record
Elewa and Spoctane are already leaving behind a very remarkable imprint, but to add to that, this Friday the 2nd of June, Elewa along with his team of 99 other awe-inspiring swimmers are attempting to have their names written in the books by breaking a Guinness World Record. The record set to be broken is the fastest 100×50 m swimming relay set by a previous team from the UK (STOCKPORT) with a time of 43:32.36 (Minutes: Seconds).
With hours spent training, Elewa believes that the team is 100% ready to officially hold the title of world record breakers.
To network with relentless athletes such as Omar Elewa, click here to download Tays now and start connecting. And don’t forget “nothing in this world is an individual thing.” – Elewa.
By: Malak Kamel